After Thanksgiving

First there is the party The Hostess envisions. All her plans and preps and notes on paper are glorious dreams. She begins determined to make them all come true.

The hostess sets about cleaning her house in joyful anticipation. Everything will be perfec — “Hey! Who put the holiday tablecloth away with that great big hurking stain in the middle? And where am I supposed to get another on such short notice?”

The man of the house looks up from the game on TV and says, “Huh?”

Undaunted, our hostess takes a deep breath, modifies her decor as best she can — which She is pleased to discover is still quite nice. Then, house in perfect order, retreats to her kitchen to prepare. She begins her pie making. With the crust rolled out and the filling ready to be poured, She reaches for the cupboard handle — and remembers that she doesn’t own a pie plate. She imagines the ugly looks on the faces of her dinner guests when they discover Thanksgiving dinner will not be followed by a yummy pie to be thankful for.

Our Hostess optimistically opens her cupboard and searches for the pie plate she knows she doesn’t have. She spies her square Pyrex Baking dish. She fits the pie crust into the bottom and adds the filling. A Square pie. Why not?

Still undaunted, she begins the prep on her side dishes. She puts the yam casserole in the oven to bake and pares the potatoes for boiling. She is thankful that someone else is cooking and bringing the turkey and stuffing. Her tiny kitchen is already over taxed.

The telephone rings. She answers it. The woman bringing the turkey says, “We’ve been stuck in traffic for hours. Word is the road won’t be open for ages. We’re closer to home then we are to your place, so we’re going back.”

Our Hostess sits with her mouth gaping.   She envisions the guests who will make it to the house. How will they feel about a Thanksgiving dinner of salad, yam casserole, mashed potatoes (no gravy, it’s with the turkey) and olives? She doesn’t think the novelty of a square pie is going to cover for the missing turkey.

At this point our hostess knows all of the polite things she is supposed to say. Instead she wails, “But you have the turkey!”

“And the stuffing,” her friend says. “Don’t forget the stuffing.”

“Are you sure traffic isn’t going to start moving soon? I made Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Crunch. I have the best yam casserole recipe ever. You don’t want to miss out on that.”

Friend says, “Yeah, you’re right. Don’t worry. We’re almost there.”

Hostess calls her a name. Friend laughs.

Everyone arrives for the meal. Hostess remembers she never put the potatoes on to boil. While Hostess scurries around in the kitchen, friends study her table settings and — completely ignoring the decor — rearrange the place to make themselves more comfortable.

Teen guest offers to whip the potatoes. Hostess, trying to get the cranberry relish and other tasties together takes her up on the offer. The potatoes are whipped perfectly. Hostess makes a mental note to remember to wash the splattered potatoes off the wall when everyone leaves.

Finally the food is on the table, a moment of silence is observed, everyone sits and Hostess realizes no one has a beverage. She jumps back up and scurries around filling glasses in accordance to the wishes of her guests. All is well. She sits — and where are the serving spoons? Oh dear, she thinks. These people are way too needy.

Finally the food is passed, everyone eats and there is much joy and exclaiming over the various dishes. The yam casserole was indeed a hit.

The square pie is first giggled over, then applauded as delicious. The Pecan Crunch refuses to turn out of the pan as it should, and thus is served upside down, but it was still super yummy. The meal was successful.

Soon the dishes are done & the guests start making leave taking motions. Food is divvied up and shared. Thanks yous, you’re welcomes, and well-wishes are exchanged. Everyone leaves. The hostess cleans her kitchen, walks out, turns the light off behind her and sits in her favorite chair with a sign of relief.

The man of the house says, “You know, Hon, I could really go for a turkey sandwich.”

She says, “Good, go to the restaurant. The kitchen is closed.” But of course she is already out of her chair and on her way to the kitchen.

~*~

Our day was wonderful and blessed.
We hope yours was, too.



Giving Thanks

For the last several years I have approached Thanksgiving with guilt. It all started in my 5th grade classroom after Thanksgiving one year. Each of us shared how we celebrated and what we ate. One of my students didn’t want to share. We all cajoled and encouraged.

Finally he said:

“We didn’t eat.  We never eat on Thanksgiving. My mom cooks a big meal with lots of food and it smells great — then we package it up and take it to someone who needs it more then we do.  Mom says that’s so we never forget to be grateful everyday.  After we deliver the food, we go home and play games and sing and enjoy our family.  We don’t turn on the TV or the radio. At bedtime dad reads us Bible stories.  It was really hard to go to sleep because I was so hungry, but in the morning mom fixed pancakes for breakfast and we told God how grateful we were to have food.”

They weren’t exactly a Gucci family, either.  Seven kids, two parents and grandma in a three bedroom house.  Whenever I need a lesson in gratefulness I think of them.